Paris Travel Guide

Attractions

One of the best value and most convenient ways to see the sights of Paris is with the Paris Museum Pass, a pre-paid entry card that allows entry into over 70 museums and monuments around Paris (and the Palace of Versailles) and comes in 2-day (€42), 4-day (€56) and 6-day (€69) denominations (Apr 2012). Note these are "consecutive' days". The card allows you to jump lengthy queues, a big plus during tourist season when line can be extensive, and is available from participating museums, tourist offices, FNAC branches and all the main Métro and RER train stations. You will still need to pay to enter most special exhibitions. To avoid waiting in the first long queue to purchase the museum pass, stop to purchase your pass a day or more in advance after mid-day. The pass does not become active until your first museum or site visit when you write your start date. After that, the days covered are consecutive. Do not write your start date until you are certain you will use the pass that day and be careful to use the European date style as indicated on the card: day-month-year.

Also consider the ParisPass, a pre-paid entry card + queue jumping to 60 attractions including The Louvre, The Arc de Triomphe, as well as a river cruise and allows free metro & public transport travel. Also note a cheaper alternative with this new combined pass available since September 2008 is the Paris ComboPass®, which comes in Lite/Premium versions.

Planning your visits: Several sites have "choke points" that restrict the number of visitors that can flow through. These include: The Eiffel Tower, Sainte-Chapelle, the catacombs and the steps to climb to the top of the Notre Dame Cathedral. To avoid lines, you should start your day by arriving at one of these sites at least 30 minutes before opening time. Otherwise, expect a wait of at least an hour. Most museums and galleries are closed on either Monday or Tuesday. Examples: The Louvre museum is closed on Tuesdays while The Orsay Museum is closed on Mondays. Be sure to check museum closing dates to avoid disappointment! Also, most ticket counters close 30-45 min before final closing.

All national museums are open free of charge on the first Sunday of the month. However, this may mean long lines and crowded exhibits. Keep away from Paris during Easter week due to crowding. People have to queue up at the Eiffel Tower for several hours even early in the morning. However, this wait can be greatly reduced, if fit, by walking the first two levels, then buying an elevator ticket to the top. Entry to the permanent exhibitions at city-run museums is free at all times (admission is charged for temporary exhibitions).

These listings are just some highlights of things that you really should see if you can during your visit to Paris. The complete listings are found on each individual district page (follow the link in parenthesis).

Good listings of current cultural events in Paris can be found in Pariscope or Officiel des spectacles, weekly magazines listing all concerts, art exhibitions, films, stage plays and museums. Available from all kiosks. timeout.fr/paris/en And also online

Landmarks
Arc de Triomphe de l'toile(8th) — The Arc de Triomphe exudes grandeur and offers a central view of the city Mtro/RER Charles de Gaulle-Etoile (1, 2, 6, A)
Catacombs (14th) — Used to store the exhumed bones from the overflowing Paris cemetery. (There is a limit to the number of visitors allowed within the Catacombs at one time (200 persons). So, if you arrive just after opening, you must wait until someone exits, approximately 45–60 minutes, before anyone is admitted). Métro Denfert-Rochereau (4, 6, B)
Château de Versailles (Versailles) — Must be seen. France's most exquisite chateau, on the outskirts of the city, easily visited by train. Once the home to Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. RER Versailles Rive Gauche (C)
The
Eiffel Tower(7th) — No other monument better symbolizes Paris. Mtro Bir-Hakeim (6) or RER Champ de Mars-Tour Eiffel (C)
Grande Arche de la Défense (La Défense) — A modern office-building variant of the Arc de Triomphe. Métro/RER La Défense (1, A)
Notre Dame Cathedral(4th) — Impressive Gothic cathedral that was the inspiration for Victor Hugo's novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Climb to the top! Mtro Cit (4) or RER Saint-Michel-Notre Dame (B, C)
Opera Garnier (9th)— Masterpiece of theatre architecture of the 19th century built by Charles Garnier and inaugurated in 1875 housing the Paris Opera since it was founded by Louis XIV. Métro Opéra (3, 7, 8)
Pantheon (5th)— Underneath, the final resting place for the great heroes of the French Republic including Voltaire, Victor Hugo, and Marie Curie; above, a marvellous view of the city. Métro Cardinal Lemoine (10) or RER Luxembourg (B)
Père-Lachaise Cemetery (20th)— Unlike any cemetery in the world. Ornate grave stones, monuments set among tree lined lanes. See the graves of Jim Morrison, Oscar Wilde, and Frédéric Chopin, among many others. Métro Père Lachaise (2, 3)
Sacré Coeur (18th)— A church perched on top of the highest point in Paris. Behind the church is the artists' area, in front are spectacular views of the whole city. Métro Anvers (2) or Abbesses (12), then climb the stairs on Rue Foyatier or take the funicular to the top of the hill.
Sainte Chapelle (1st)— Exquisite stained glass chapel. More beautiful interior than the gloomy Notre Dame Cathedral. Métro Cité (4)
Museums and galleries

All national museums et monuments are free for all every first Sunday of the month.

The Louvre, (1st)— One of the finest museums in the world of art and culture. Home of the Mona Lisa and innumerable others. Enormous building and collection, plan at least two visits. Métro Palais Royal-Musée du Louvre (1, 7)
Musée d'Orsay, (7th)— Incredible collection housed in a former railway station. Works by the great artists of the 19th century (1848-1914) including Monet's "Blue Water Lilies, Renoir's "Bal du moulin de la Galette", van Gogh's "Bedroom in Arles", Whistler's "The Artists Mother", etc. RER Musée d'Orsay (C) or Métro Solférino (12)
Rodin Museum, (7th)— His personal collection and archives, in a charming home with garden. Métro Varenne (13)
Picasso Museum, (3rd)— Contains the master's own collection. Visitor should note this museum will be closed until 2012 due to renovations of the building. Métro Saint-Paul (1) or Chemin Vert (8)
Muse Marmottan-MonetLouis Boilly— Over 300 paintings of Claude Monet. Also, the works of Berthe Morisot, Edgar Degas, douard Manet and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. "Impression Soleil Levant" by Monet is on display. Mtro La Muette (9)
Musée de l'Orangerie, (1st)— des Tuileries Houses "The Water Lilies" (or "Nymphéas") - a 360 degree depiction of Monet's flower garden at Giverny. Also, impressionist and post-Impressionist paintings by Cézanne, Matisse, Modigliani, Picasso, Renoir, Rousseau, Soutine, Sisley and others. Métro Concorde (1, 8, 12)
Musée Delacroix— Housed in the home of painter Eugène Delacroix. Métro Mabillon (10) or Saint-Germain-des-Près (4)
Centre Georges Pompidou, (4th)— The museum of modern art. The building and adjoining Stravinsky Fountain are attractions in themselves. Métro Rambuteau (11)
Les Invalides, (7th)— Very impressive museum of arms and armor from the Middle Ages to today. Also contains the tomb of Napoleon Bonaparte. Métro Varenne (13)
Cluny, (5th)— A medieval museum exhibiting the five "The Lady and the Unicorn" tapestries, housed in a part Roman, part medieval building. Métro Cluny-La Sorbonne (10)
Le Musee des Arts Decoratifs, (1st)— Showcasing eight centuries of French savoir-faire. Métro Palais Royal-Musée du Louvre (1, 7)
Carnavalet (3rd)— Museum of Paris history; exhibitions are permanent and free. Métro Saint-Paul (1) or Chemin Vert (8)
Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie - La Villette, (19th)— Science museum primarily for children. Métro Porte de la Villette (7)
Mémorial de la Shoah, (4th)— Paris's Holocaust Memorial Museum, in the heart of the Marais on rue Geoffroy l'Asnier. Free Entry, weekly guided tours. Second Sunday of the month there is a free tour in English. Métro Pont Marie (7)
Jacquemart-Andre Museum , (8th)— Private collection of French, Italian, Dutch masterpieces in a typical XIXth century mansion. Métro Miromesnil (9, 13)

source: Wikivoyage

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